by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SALEM, Ore. – Mason Kelliher's shutout performance in goal helped the Willamette Bearcats to a 2-0 win over the Whitworth Pirates in Saturday's Northwest Conference contest.
The Pirates (4-5-2, 3-1-1 NWC) and Bearcats (8-1-1, 5-0) combined for eight yellow cards and two red cards during the match. Both players ejected were Bearcats. Aaron Yanagi and Zanskar Blair both received cards for Whitworth, which also received a caution towards its bench.
The match was physical from the first 20 minutes, with Tam Proctor receiving a red card in the 19th minute and Joe Plastor earning a yellow one minute later. Both sides put together scoring opportunities during first 15 minutes as well, forcing both Kelliher and Nunez to make early saves.
Willamette got onto the scoreboard in the 47th minute. Adhre Sparks lifted a header to Max Berner-Hays, who used his big frame to head home his first goal of the match.
Berner-Hays scored his second goal in the 57th minute. The center back headed home a pass from midfield to put the Bearcats up 2-0.
After Berner-Hays added to Willamette's lead, the Pirate offense attempted to even the match. The Bucs put four shots on goal in the match's last 30 minutes, but couldn't push a shot past Kelliher, who finished the match with seven saves.
Whitworth finished the match with advantages in shots (20-13), shots on goal (7-4), and corner kicks (5-3). Ethan Kem, Drew Williams, and Chase Reidt each put two shots on goal for the Bucs. Nunez saved two Bearcat shots.
Up next, the Pirates finish their weekend in Oregon by taking on Linfield. The Bucs and Wildcats kick off Sunday afternoon at 12:00 p.m.